- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2001

The Supreme Court yesterday suspended former President Bill Clinton's privilege to practice law before the high court and began a mechanism to disbar him by Thanksgiving for lying under oath in the Paula Jones case.
The long-awaited disciplinary action combined with the virtually automatic disbarment to follow in 40 days delighted old adversaries who sought Mr. Clinton's "disbarment" and not just "suspension" from practicing law.
"He has a snowball's chance in Afghanistan to ever win any of that. This is the final chapter," said Phil Kent, president of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, which filed one of two complaints that led to Mr. Clinton's five-year suspension in Arkansas.
Yesterday's "show-cause order" to the ex-president was issued after the fall term's opening ceremony, during which justices paused for a moment of prayer or contemplation for Sept. 11 terrorism victims.
Among 2,000 or so orders disposing of cases accumulated over the summer recess were some that resonate coincidentally in the new national security climate.
Justices rebuffed six Japanese petitioners who an appeals court said were 50 years too late in seeking payment for WWII internments, refused to consider an attack on racial profiling, and let stand a company's discipline of a Muslim who wore her head scarf to work at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
The Clinton suspension order was issued after the high court learned formally of discipline in Arkansas on Jan. 19, his last full day in office, as part of a plea-bargain that averted criminal charges by independent counsel Robert Ray.
Clinton lawyer David E. Kendall promised to challenged the high court's order. "This suspension is simply a consequence of the voluntary settlement entered into last January with the Arkansas bar," Mr. Kendall said. "Pursuant to the Supreme Court's order, we will show cause why disbarment is not appropriate."
The action drew quick comment from the Landmark and Southeastern legal foundations, which lobbied for Mr. Clinton's disbarment in Arkansas. It also drew approval from Fairfax lawyer Gilbert K. Davis, who won the 9-0 Supreme Court ruling in 1997 that began the legal discovery process in which the president was caught lying under oath about whether he had sexual relations with former intern Monica Lewinsky.
"The Supreme Court is probably the most important place to do this, because this is the court that decided 9-0 that the Jones versus Clinton case had to go forward, and when it went forward he cheated, in essence thumbing his nose at the highest court in the land," Mr. Davis said.
With some irony, the suspension and show-cause order come three days before Thursday's hearing in Richmond on whether Mrs. Jones must face civil charges that her legal defense fund violated charitable-solicitation laws by mailing nearly 1 million solicitation letters.
"It was only a matter of time before justice and history would catch up with Clinton," said Landmark president Mark R. Levin, whose group asked U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright in August 1998 to hold the president in contempt for lying at a deposition session seven months earlier.
As part of the deal under which the Arkansas Bar dropped its court case, Mr. Clinton publicly admitted he lied under oath in the Jones v. Clinton case, and he agreed to pay a $25,000 fine for costs and lawyers' fees in addition to the $850,000 he paid Mrs. Jones to settle her lawsuit.
Under terms of the "consent agreement" negotiated with Marie-Bernarde Miller, attorney for the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct, Mr. Clinton avoided being barred for life and kept license No. 73019. If he pays dues to the Arkansas Bar and pursues continuing-education courses to keep up on the law, approval to resume practice would be automatic in 2006.
To be readmitted before the U.S. Supreme Court after being disbarred, however, requires him to practice in good standing for at least three more years after eventual reinstatement in Arkansas.
The only other president stricken from the rolls of the Supreme Court Bar was Richard M. Nixon, who resigned a year before New York disbarred him. His resignation was accepted June 23, 1975, with abstentions by Justices William H. Rehnquist and William Douglas.
During yesterday's extraordinary opening ceremony, U.S. Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson repeatedly wiped his eyes when Chief Justice Rehnquist singled out Mr. Olson's wife, lawyer and commentator Barbara Olson, who was among the estimated 6,000 terrorism victims.
"I know our hearts go out to the families of those killed and injured," Chief Justice Rehnquist said. "Let us take a moment to grieve with those who mourn, and honor those who have heroically performed their duty."
Some justices bowed their heads while others closed their eyes during a moment reminiscent of Virginia's "moment of silence" in the schools, whose constitutionality was pressed by acting Attorney General Randolph A. Beales in a brief filed yesterday.
The internment case came amid concerns that Arabs or other Muslims living in the United States might be detained as were Japanese during WWII simply because all 19 identified hijackers were Islamic extremists with Middle East backgrounds.
The case (Kato v. U.S., 01-07) involved people denied the $20,000 stipends paid under a 1988 law to some 81,000 people who were interned or had property seized after the Japanese Navy's sneak attack at Pearl Harbor.
Kay Sadao Kato of Los Angeles was denied participation because he was not a citizen, although he later became one and was 91 years old when he sued in 1999. Jane Natsue Yano of Santa Clara, Calif., claimed she was born in 1947 in a Texas camp but was not compensated because camps were to have been closed in 1945. The other four were brought from their homes in Peru and held as bargaining chips for hostage exchanges during the war, then deported in December 1945, the suit claimed.
The racial profiling complaint was filed by young blacks in Oneonta, N.Y., who said they were rounded up or questioned because of their race following a black burglar's attack on an elderly woman (Brown v. City of Oneonta, 00-1728).
The issue of the traditional head scarf, or hijab, for Muslim women drew active involvement of both the American Jewish Congress, concerned in part for Jews wearing yarmulke skull caps, and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Zeinab Ali said she was fired as a management trainee at Alamo Rent-A-Car at Reagan Airport for wearing the scarf on the job.
Her lawsuit claiming religious discrimination was dismissed, and yesterday the court let that ruling stand (Ali v. Alamo Rent-A-Car Inc., 00-1813).
Alamo's lawyers said the firing was legal and unrelated to religious issues.

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